Nation's Building News Online: April 17, 2006

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Multifamily Housing Demand on a Long-Term Upswing

Baby boomer lifestyle changes, immigration, housing affordability and the “non-traditional” composition of households are among factors that will contribute to robust demand for multifamily rental and for-sale housing for several decades, according to industry experts and economists addressing the Pillars of the Industry conference in Phoenix earlier this month.

“Housing demand will stay strong for the next 20 years,” said economist James Smith, of the Center for Business Forecasting at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Baby boomers are just beginning to enter the peak homeownership age brackets of 65-69 and 70-74, Smith said, and many will be seeking home buying opportunities in the multifamily market, which is well suited to meeting the needs and desires of empty nesters and smaller households.

A Growing Sector for KB Home

“Only 25% of families are traditional nuclear families” with two parents and children, said Bruce Karatz, chairman and CEO of KB Home. The 75% who don’t fall into that category are “interested in lifestyles that are different than that of the nuclear family,” making them more receptive to housing alternatives outside the single-family mainstream.

“I would say that condominiums are here to stay as a great choice for owners who don’t need to worry about their children’s education,” added Ron Terwilliger, chairman and CEO of Trammell Crow Residential, one of the largest builders of multifamily housing in the country.

Karatz said that his company is focused domestically on single-family homes, but it also builds multifamily housing here and has been building multifamily communities in France for more than 25 years.

“In the U.S., less than 10% of our overall activity is in condos, but it’s a growing percentage,” Karatz said. He added, however, that the overseas multifamily market is a less risky proposition for builders and developers than here in the U.S.

“I do not think that condo developers price enough risk into their pro formas,” he said. “When we build in France, we don’t start digging a hole until 40% of the units are sold, and then we transfer the risk to the buyer, who pays on a percentage of the project’s completion.” That practice is not legal in the U.S., he said.

Immigration and Job Growth Up

Immigration will remain a source of strength for the rental market for another 15 years or more, Smith said. The U.S. is currently experiencing “the highest percentage of immigrants since the 1920s,” he noted, and that has stimulated demand for both rentals and for-sale entry-level housing.

Higher interest rates and housing affordability woes are also key factors that will bolster the rental market, at least over the short term, Terwilliger said. “For 2006, rental demand will exceed supply by a wide margin. Why? Because job growth is up, completions are down and the premium to buy is way up,” to about 22% of income going toward principal and interest payments on a mortgage compared to only 16% of income for renting.

“Rents have not moved up, in absolute terms, in five years,” Terwilliger added, but they have moved up in hot markets for much the same reason that for-sale property prices have increased.

He identified the Florida communities of West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando, followed by Las Vegas; Riverside, Calif.; Los Angeles; and Orange County, Calif. as the markets where the highest increases in rents have occurred.

With land and construction costs on the rise, condo conversions have become a growing niche. “In 2002, no one was buying apartments to convert,” Terwilliger said. Three years later, conversions accounted for about a third of the dollar volume in multifamily acquisitions.

Good Help Is Hard to Find

One of the biggest challenges facing the multifamily industry is finding and hiring competent, experienced staff.

“Our biggest challenge is good people,” said J. Lindsay Freeman, COO of Archstone-Smith, which owns, operates and develops apartments in major metropolitan areas across the country. “The jobs in our company are becoming harder to do, and the competition for really good people is intense.”

Ronald Ratner, with Forest City Enterprises, Inc., a multifamily residential ownership, development and management company, agreed. The industry is more complicated than in the past.  “The availability of really good people is key.”

Absolut Lofts photo by Al Ricketts, courtesy of Kobi Karp Architecture.

Floor Plans: High in Style — Highly Affordable

Montecito Vistas: Developed by Jamboree Housing Corporation

In Irvine, Calif., where the average price of a home is almost $674,000 but annual salaries in the fastest growing industries in this job-rich community are between $17,000 and $44,000, something was needed to close the housing affordability gap.

Something that was stylish enough to blend in with the community’s architecture. And something that was affordable enough so that the people who worked in Irvine could live in Irvine.

Into this breech stepped Jamboree Housing Corporation, a nonprofit housing corporation headquartered in Irvine but with communities throughout California, to develop Montecito Vista, a 162-unit multifamily rental development about equally divided between two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Targeting Residents Earning Less Than Half the Median Income

The Montecito Vista apartments rent to households earning between 30% and 50% of the Irvine, Calif. median income.

Jamboree Housing is renting the units to households earning between 30% and 50% of area median income. The two-bedroom, one-bath apartments start at $510 per month. The three-bedroom, two-bath apartments start at $589 per month.

The apartments are built in a cluster of seven three-story, garden-style buildings designed to be compatible with existing homes in the surrounding neighborhood.

Providing Amenities to Enhance Quality of Life

The Montecito Vistas community room

More than apartments, Montecito Vista includes a community building, a small library, a computer learning center, outdoor barbecues, on-grade parking and a swimming pool.

Jamboree Housing also offers resident assistance programs, including child safety courses, tutoring programs, computer learning classes and programs to help residents prepare for career opportunities in the job-rich Irvine area.

Basic Shelter Is Only the Beginning

Montecito Vista also is adjacent a new community park and a new technology center. It also is close to hiking and bike trails and is just two blocks from The Marketplace, a regional retail center with shops, restaurants and movie theaters for the residents to enjoy — and plenty of job opportunities, too.

Montecito Vista is also near the new Arnold O. Beckman High School, a $94 million state-of-the-art facility that is the first new high school built in the Irvine Unified School District in 40 years.

Two-bedroom, one-bath apartment starting at $510 per month

 

Three-bedroom, two-bath apartment starting at $589 per month

 

“Basic shelter is only the beginning when it comes to improving the lives of lower-income residents of affordable housing communities,” said Laura Archuleta, president of Jamboree Housing Corp. “The goal is to respond to the current and future needs of residents to improve their lives, break the poverty cycle and move them toward non-subsidized self-sufficiency.”

Montecito Vista was one of five developments to receive a 2005 Innovation in Workforce Housing Award from NAHB.

Features and Specifications

Types of Apartments:

  • 84 two-bedroom, one-bath apartments starting at $510 per month

  • 78 three-bedroom, two-bath apartments starting at $589 per month


All Units Include:

  • Large private balconies

  • Frost-free refrigerators

  • Gas stoves

  • Microwave ovens

  • Dishwashers

  • Wood-paneled cabinets


Community Amenities:

  • Swimming pool

  • Community room

  • Computer learning center

  • Tot lot

  • Barbecue grills


Community Services

  • Child safety courses

  • Tutoring programs

  • Computer learning classes

  • Programs to help residents prepare for career opportunities


Developed by Jamboree Housing Corporation, Irvine, Calif.

Arizona’s Pygmy Owl Struck From Endangered Species List

An announcement last Thursday that the pygmy owl will be removed from the federal list of endangered species will enable the government to direct its limited resources toward species that are more in need of protection, according to NAHB. The decision is effective May 15.

“As home builders, we want to protect species when they are endangered, but this was clearly not the case for pygmy owls,” said NAHB President David Pressly. “This decision is a victory for sound science and for affordable housing.”

The action by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended more than nine years of legal wrangling over the status of the pygmy owl, which flourishes just across the border in Mexico but also includes a small population in Arizona, the northernmost edge of the bird’s range. Officials proposed setting aside 1.2 million acres of critical habit for the 18 solitary pygmy owls found in the state in 2002.

Arizona pygmy-owls will still receive protection through the Migratory Bird Act and non-federal initiatives such as the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.

NAHB had long objected to the owl’s listing, and economists at the association estimated that the critical habitat designation would have cut residential construction in the Tucson area by 262 homes annually, reduced local economic activity by $545 million over a 10-year period and deprived local governments of $68.3 million in tax and permit revenue. The designation would have cost 705 jobs in the first year alone and 2,750 over 10 years.

NAHB entered the Arizona case when it became apparent that the Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to follow its own policies in its decision to list the owl. Under its Distinct Population Segment (DPS) policy, the agency can extend full Endangered Species Act protection to specific subpopulations of a species even when this is not needed to protect the species as a whole. However, in the owl’s case it didn’t establish that the bird was in fact a distinct subspecies.

Jerry Howard, NAHB’s executive vice president and CEO, noted that scientific information, court rulings and the agency’s own professional judgment that the owl was incorrectly listed under the DPS policy all contributed to the Service’s decision to remove the pygmy owl from the endangered species list.

“NAHB has a national interest in ensuring the consistent application of the DPS policy when listing subspecies and even subpopulations,” Howard said, “because of the act’s tremendous impact on private landowners.” He added that a team of association staff with regulatory and legal expertise on the owl listing had worked long and hard along with NAHB member volunteers to successfully resolve the issue.

Adhering to an August 2003 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the agency’s action was “arbitrary and capricious,” and after reviewing information on the owl, public comments and its own policy, the FWS, in a statement published in the April 14 Federal Register, concluded that “we do not believe that the Arizona [population] of the pygmy owl qualifies as an entity that can be listed under the act.”

For more information, e-mail Christopher Galik at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8663.

Miami Price Dice?

Although asking prices are still higher than a year ago, sales of condominiums in South Florida have slowed and inventory is rising by the day. In February, sales of existing condominiums in Florida had declined by 23% from a year earlier, according to the Florida Association of Realtors®. In Aventura, near Sunny Isles Beach and North Miami, new condo listings have increased from 15 a day to as many as 100 listings a day. At Mystic Pointe, a five-tower complex in Aventura, there are 59 apartments available, although prices so far have remained at their peak, which was reached at the start of this year. In December, prices were 22% higher in Broward and 27% higher in Miami-Dade than a year earlier. Ken Klein, a mortgage broker and principal of Lenders USA, believes the bubble has burst and that the market will get worse before it gets better. Rising interest rates, oversupply, insurance and tax hikes, and assessments due to hurricane damage are all pointing to a cooling off this year. But Klein believes that good properties will retain their value. “Buyers in this marketplace should not be afraid to buy, however, if it is for a primary residence, since rates are still rather reasonable,” he says. (www.theslatinreport.com)
The Slatin Report (4/14/06); Arlene Hauben

Hot Homes Get Cold — In Once-Booming Markets Such as the Florida Coast, Housing Sales Languish

For cities like Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Phoenix and San Diego, a drop-off in sales and a rising supply of homes on the market could soon put downward pressure on housing prices. “In some places prices might fall. In other places, price gains will slow,” says David Berson, chief economist for Fannie Mae, adding that the double-digit annual price increases of the past five years in many of the nation’s hottest markets were unsustainable. Todd Linsley, a 37-year old investor, had planned to flip a three-bedroom house he bought in Stuart, Fla. for $318,000 at the end of last year, expecting to sell it for as much as $425,000. But with the market on the decline, he listed it for $379,000, and has been unable to sell it. Instead, he is renting it for $1,000 a month, while paying a monthly mortgage of $2,045 and a $108 monthly home owner’s association fee. (www.wsj.com)
Wall Street Journal (4/12/06); Michael Corkery

Is There a Pink Slip in Your Future? If You’re Involved in Real Estate, the Answer Is ‘Maybe’

Joseph Kalish, of Ned Davis Research in Venice, Fla., calculates that 30% of the 705,000 jobs added to Florida’s private-sector work force from November 2001 to November 2005 were related to housing. “This has been a historic housing boom,” said John Challenger, of Chicago-based placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “This nexus of industries, different kinds of companies, has staffed up to meet this unprecedented demand for the services and work, which inevitably is going to be scaled back.” Though she foresees a pickup in mortgage activity in 2007, Sarasota mortgage broker Marta Grande expects some rough times between now and then because mortgage industry payrolls have grown quite substantially, and the industry’s profit margins are now being squeezed because investors won’t pay as much for loans on the secondary market. A 20-month hiring spree that roughly coincides with the 2004-05 real estate run-up has created 53,000 new jobs for lenders, loan service companies and other professionals in real estate finance, according to National Mortgage News, suggesting that about 10% of the nation’s current mortgage industry work force of 533,000 are relatively new hires. (www.heraldtribune.com)
Sarasota Herald-Tribune (4/10/05); Michael Pollick

Backyard Accents, Growing Like Weeds

Annual retail sales for outdoor furniture have gone from $2 billion in 1994 to about $4.7 billion in 2004, fueled by a building boom in large new homes and heavily renovated older ones, with multiple doors leading outside to multilevel decks. The biggest outdoor furnishings purchases are being made by home owners who are over 45 and have been in their homes for more than 16 years, according to Gary McCray, vice president of Laneventure, the North Carolina-based indoor and outdoor furniture company. High-style lower-priced goods are also luring younger buyers into the market, however, and outdoor rugs are the fastest-growing category, he says. Sales are brisk even in the Northeast and Midwest, and with the exception of grills and fire pits, women are doing most of the buying. To meet the growing demand, manufacturers of outdoor furnishings have developed hardy all-weather materials such as vinyl wicker and rattan, molded plastic and cast aluminum. (www.washingtonpost)
Washington Post (4/13/06); Annie Groer

Local Builders and Buyers Going ‘Green’ With Gusto

Paying $150 in yearly dues and $50 to register each house for participation in his green home building program, Seattle builder Jim Barger can hang a “Built Green” tag on his dwellings, indicating that the home is potentially healthier than a traditionally built home, that it should take less energy to operate over the long haul and that it is better overall for society and for the people who reside in it. Among certification options chosen by Barger’s Greenleaf Construction company for recent projects are: beefed-up insulation levels, tankless water heaters, fluorescent lighting, pre-used materials such as plywood and timbers, and 50-year metal roofs. He also prepares a home’s electrical system so that in the future the power of solar energy can be tapped without a costly retrofit. “We have to go through an introductory training program to learn about the checklist of options and how to use it, and once a year someone from your company is required to attend a Built Green seminar,” he explains. “Until now there hasn’t been a compelling reason for builders to change their business paradigm,” said Aaron Adelstein, director of the Master Builders Built Green program. “Most of them figured they had a business model that worked in what has always been a highly competitive industry. But now consumers are quite savvy, especially the consumers in this area, and builders are seeing that they need to change in response.” (www.seattlepi/nwsource.com)
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (4/8/06); Gordy Holt

Bar Association Seeks Study of Eminent Domain

In response to last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Kelo v. City of New London allowing New London, Conn. to take the property of home owners for the development of a hotel, convention center, office space and condominiums, the New York State Bar Association is pushing for a state commission to study proposed amendments to eminent domain laws. “Kelo is based on established legal precedent,” said the association’s president, A. Vincent Buzard. “It is not a revolutionary departure from existing law, and, in fact, would have been decided the same under New York law. Furthermore, our position is that unwarranted attacks on the …decision are based on misunderstanding, that they undermine public confidence in the judiciary, and are inappropriate. Referring to members of the (Supreme) Court as ‘commissars’ or accusing them of using ‘Gestapo tactics’ is demeaning to our judicial system and is contrary to the facts.” (www.rismedia.com)
Rismedia (4/13/06); Beth Bresnahan

Help Bring Industry Concerns to Lawmakers on May 10

Builders seeking the rare opportunity to walk the halls of Congress with their colleagues and to meet with their lawmakers to discuss issues of concern for the housing industry won't want to miss the association's most important grassroots activity of the year — the NAHB Legislative Conference on May 10, a day-long event coinciding with the spring board meeting.

“For any builder who is concerned about their bottom line, attending the Legislative Conference could be the best decision that they make this year,” said NAHB President David Pressly. “This is your chance to speak directly to your federal representatives on Capitol Hill, and communicate the challenges that you and your business face every day. Don't miss this once-a-year opportunity to really make a difference.”

Why Your Help Is Needed

Decisions that affect a builder’s business are being made every day in the halls of Congress. Environmental regulations, tax policy, soaring health care costs and many other issues can add thousands of dollars to a firm’s annual operating budget, and Congress weighs in on each and every one of them.

“Of the meetings I attended while in Washington, the visit to Capitol Hill was the most beneficial,” said Bridgette Evans, executive officer of the Missoula Building Industry Association in Montana, who attended the Legislative Conference last year. “It is good to see that we really do make a difference when we meet with members of Congress and their staffs. With this knowledge, I was able to go back to my board and the membership and feel confident when recruiting people to donate time to work on an issue." 

Meet With Your Members of Congress

The NAHB Legislative Conference provides a unique opportunity for builders to speak directly with their members of Congress and to take a stand on the issues that affect their businesses and bottom line.

Attending the 2006 Legislative Conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to:

  • Lobby members of Congress to protect your business
  • Establish lasting relationships with your elected federal officials
  • Share builder concerns in a national forum in Washington, D.C.
  • Learn the latest policy developments on the key issues affecting your business
  • Demonstrate your industry’s commitment to responsible policies, pragmatic reforms, effective programs and providing the resources necessary to meet our nation’s ongoing housing needs
  • Network and share business strategies with your peers
  • Learn how to be an effective advocate for your business and your industry
  • Make your views known on Capitol Hill
  • Do your part to ensure that NAHB’s issues are heard by Washington policymakers
  • Galvanize a united front on Capitol Hill


Your participation can make a difference. A strong builder turnout on May 10 will send a powerful message to members of Congress: Housing must remain a national priority.

Come to Washington and show your members of Congress the great work you do back home in building your communities. Urge your lawmakers to adopt sensible policies to enable your business to thrive and allow the nation’s home builders to fulfill their mission of providing safe, decent, affordable housing to all Americans.

To Register

For more information and to register for NAHB’s 2006 Legislative Conference, click here; or e-mail Jessica Boyce, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8334.

Builder Confidence in Housing Market Thins in April

In the face of rising mortgage rates, continued housing affordability issues and subsiding demand from investors and speculators, the NAHBs/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) has moved down four points this month to an overall reading of 50.

“Home builders definitely view this as something of a transition period, where demand from speculators is easing off and the market is heading to a more sustainable level of activity following the record-breaking performance of 2005,” said NAHB President David Pressly. “This process should help restore a healthier balance between supply and demand going forward.”

“With mortgage rates back up to the 6.5% range and serious affordability issues in the highest-priced markets, today’s HMI numbers are neither surprising nor alarming,” noted NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Indeed, a reported reduction in home buying by investors/speculators in the market for new single-family homes is a positive development. Furthermore, we expect solid growth in employment and household income to essentially offset the minor increases in the interest-rate structure that we’re projecting for the balance of this year.”

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for nearly 20 years, the index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales, sales expectations for the next six months and the traffic of prospective buyers. Any number over 50 indicates that more builders view sales conditions as good than poor.

All three component indexes have slipped this April, with the largest decline registered in current single-family sales, which dropped five points to 54. Sales expectations declined four points to 58 and prospective buyer traffic was off one point at 39.

Builders in the West actually registered rising confidence in market conditions in April, with a four-point gain to 70 partially offsetting a significant decline in March. But other regions of the country were heading in the opposite direction: the Northeast posted a seven-point decline to 49, the South fell four points to 55 and the Midwest, the weakest part of the country, shed five points, weighing in with a thin confidence reading of 32.



Where Are the Top 100 Metropolitan Areas for 2006?

HousingEconomics Online,” the online publication from the NAHB Economics Group, is your single source for market analysis, forecasts, housing statistics and more. In-depth analysis, detailed Excel tables and overviews are available for all metro forecasts.

To learn more or subscribe to “HousingEconomics Online”, visit www.housingeconomics.com


Attend the Spring Construction Forecast Conference in April

Plan to attend NAHB's Construction Forecast Conference on April 27 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. The conference brings together the nation's premier housing economists and finance experts for an in-depth examination of the economic outlook for the housing industry.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/cfc.


Seiders Predicts 'Soft Landing' on the NAHB Economics Blog

NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders says a "soft landing for housing is still in the cards" on NAHB's economics blog, “Seiders on Housing” — an informal Internet-based forum dealing with economic issues, housing trends, survey research and other topics affecting the housing sector of the economy.

Log onto the blog at http://nahbblog.blogs.com and get direct access to Seiders' expert opinions, projections and responses. Then let Seiders know what you think by giving your perspective.

NAHB Gets Relief on New Housing Bank Capital Regs

As a result of advocacy efforts by NAHB, the Federal Reserve Board at the end of last month moderated bank capital requirements that would have had a negative impact on the cost and availability of residential acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) loans.

In an ongoing process to revise the 1988 Basel Capital Accord, which is used by U.S. banking regulators as the framework for establishing capital regulations, the Federal Reserve approved a new version of Basel II that exempts residential AD&C loans from higher capital charges if they meet the banking agencies’ real estate lending guidelines for loan-to-value and borrower equity.

The Fed’s proposal was issued for public comment on March 30, and identical proposals are expected to be issued shortly by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Prior to the Fed’s action, Basel II revisions to the accord, which would apply primarily to large international depository institutions, raised the amount of capital that banks must hold for many AD&C loans. The Basel II capital requirements for all AD&C loans would have been higher than other assets on bank and thrift balance sheets, and capital charges would have increased for many multifamily mortgage loans.

The current Basel II prototype would significantly lower the capital costs for residential mortgages. Under the current system of bank capital standards (Basel I), banks are required to hold less capital for many housing-related loans than for other assets. For example, almost all mortgages and certain multifamily and pre-sold single-family construction loans are assigned a 50% risk weight, which is equal to a 4% capital requirement.

A Cause for Concern

NAHB has been actively involved in the Basel overhaul since the process began in 1998, and also has been focusing its concern on the Basel IA capital requirements being formulated by the federal banking agencies for financial institutions that do not adopt Basel II. An advance notice of these proposed rules was issued for public comment last October.

While not as comprehensive as Basil II, Basel IA changes currently contain a bias against residential construction financing and could result in higher capital charges for loans than under Basel II. Of particular concern is a provision that would require banks to hold more than the currently required 8% capital charge for AD&C loans that do not have a substantial amount of borrower equity, or in the case of construction loans, are not pre-sold.

In a Jan. 18 letter to the banking agencies, NAHB emphasized the low risk profile of residential construction loans compared to non-residential loans, as demonstrated by data from the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), and urged that they be classified in a lower risk category.

NAHB First Vice President Brian Catalde and NAHB staff met at the end of last month with the Comptroller of the Currency John C. Dugan and OTS Director John M. Reich to discuss home builders’ concerns over the Basel IA proposal. Both agency heads indicated that they will be considering the association’s suggestions.

Basel reform has been moving at a glacial pace, and Basel II would not fully take effect until 2009. No implementation schedule has been set for Basel IA.

For more information, e-mail Michael Carrier at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8529.


Want to Know the Housing Starts Through 2014?

Find out in HousingEconomics.com’s Long-Term Forecast. HousingEconomics.com includes downloadable Excel tables featuring the housing starts forecast, GDP, demographics and more.

To learn more, visit www.housingeconomics.com.


Attend the Spring Construction Forecast Conference in April

Plan to attend NAHB's Construction Forecast Conference on April 27 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. The conference brings together the nation's premier housing economists and finance experts for an in-depth examination of the economic outlook for the housing industry.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/cfc.


Seiders Predicts 'Soft Landing' on the NAHB Economics Blog

NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders says a "soft landing for housing is still in the cards" on NAHB's economics blog, “Seiders on Housing” — an informal Internet-based forum dealing with economic issues, housing trends, survey research and other topics affecting the housing sector of the economy.

Log onto the blog at http://nahbblog.blogs.com and get direct access to Seiders' expert opinions, projections and responses. Then let Seiders know what you think by giving your perspective.

Builder's Tip: Making Low-Cost Crown-Molding Clamps

 

 

In my cabinetmaking business, I am faced with a fair number of crown-molding installations.

While searching for ways to ease the job of pulling tight the moldings on outside corners, I considered buying some spring miter clamps — the kind that use a C-shaped spring with pointed ends to draw parts together — but blanched at the price.

Instead, I looked at the tools I already had and wondered how they might solve this problem. The accompanying drawing illustrates my solution.

  • I took a 12-inch Quick-Grip mini bar clamp and removed the rubber clamp-pad guards, exposing the black-plastic material of the clamp jaw.

  • Then I drilled a 7/64-inch hole 1/4 inch down from the top edge of each of the clamp jaws. I angled the drill bit up about 5 degrees to allow the screws a better bite into the molding. Then I drove a 1-1/4-inch coarse-thread drywall screw into each jaw.

Using the clamps is easy.

  • Attach the first piece of molding. Then spread a bit of glue on the face of the next piece and nail the joint together near its bottom.

  • Now position the clamp so that the screw points touch the molding near the upper part of the joint in an inconspicuous part of the molding.

  • Gently squeeze the clamp handle until the joint closes tight. Allow the glue to set up, remove the clamp and touch up the two dents with a color-matched fill stick or with some colored putty.

I’ve modified a dozen such clamps so that I can finish an entire job without needing to recycle clamps before the glue sets up.

If you don’t have enough clamps to do the job, use a pin nailer to secure a clamped joint while the glue dries.

Incidentally, these clamps are equally useful for picture frames.

— Mike Hathaway, Huntington Beach, Calif.

Tips & Techniques provided by Fine Homebuilding.
©2005 The Taunton Press

To request a reprint of this feature, e-mail Mary Lou von der Lancken at Fine Homebuilding.



BuilderBooks.com Offers More Than 250 Books That Help You Build Your Business

BuilderBooks.com is your source for training and education products for the building industry. The official bookstore for NAHB, BuilderBooks.com offers award-winning publications, software, brochures and more available in both English and Spanish.

To view these publications online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.



Log In and Explore www.nahb.org

Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB. 

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

Six Performance Yardsticks — and How to Measure Them

There are six areas of your business operations that will accurately measure your company's performance.

All six are internal measures — they don't benchmark your performance against other home builders. Instead, these yardsticks enable you to measure and evaluate your company's effectiveness.

They include:

  • Efficiency and Productivity
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Quality
  • Schedule
  • Construction
  • Customer Satisfaction

CPA Steve Maltzman, president of SMA Consulting, a firm that offers financial and operational management consulting services to the construction industry, offers the following formulas for accurately measuring your company’s performance:

Efficiency and Productivity

  • Productivity ratio — Total sales revenue ÷ number of full-time-equivalent employees
  • Work-in-Progress turnover — (Total direct cost of sales ­– land cost) ÷ average work in progress
  • Average number of days each warranty service request is open
  • Direct cost variance from budget as a percentage of total budgeted direct cost
  • Total number of variance purchase orders

Sales and Marketing

  • Referral rates — Total sales or traffic ÷ number of customer referrals
  • Advertising cost ÷ number of traffic units
  • Advertising cost ÷ number of sales contracts
  • Fallout ratio — Cancellations ÷ sales
  • Product sales matrix percentages (pre-sale versus speculative, by plan type)
  • Conversion ratio — Traffic ÷ sales

Quality

  • Quality of service — Open service requests ÷ number of homes under warranty
  • Quality of product — Total service request items ÷ number of homes under warranty

Schedule and Construction

  • Time of construction — Measure consistently from  point A to point Z
  • Weekly/monthly measurement of annualized production gain — Measure by location, crew, etc.

Customer Service

  • “Would you recommend?” ratio
  • Satisfaction scores (scale of 1 to 5) on:
    • Salesperson and process
    • Construction manager and process
    • Selections process and personnel
    • Plan flexibility and availability of plan styles
    • Financing process and people
    • Home owners manual
    • Warranty
    • Performance


Benchmarking your business operations with these interal measures will help enable you to make more accurate management decisions and increase your ability to grow and improve. 

For more information, e-mail Maltzman, call him at 909-420-0200, or visit the SMA Consulting Web site.



NAHB Has More Than 250 Resources to Help You Run Your Business More Profitably

Go to NAHB's Business Management Tools Web pages (available to members only) for instant access to more than 250 timesaving, moneymaking and cost-cutting business resources to help you run your business more profitably. Get guidance on accounting and financial management, business strategy, computers and information technology, customer service, human resources and more.

Resources are added weekly, so bookmark www.nahb.org/biztools to go directly to these vital business management resources.

Local and state home builders associations can link directly to www.nahb.org/biztools from their Web site and give their members instant access to these resources. It will make your HBA's Web site the place to go for the information and guidance that members need to succeed.



Subscribe to NAHB’s Business of Building e/Source

NAHB’s Business of Building e/Source is your monthly electronic guide to the hot issues and emerging trends in home building business management. You’ll find practical advice, tricks of the trade and sound business guidance — all delivered monthly, straight to your desktop, in a quick and easy-to-read format. Business of Building e/Source is available free to NAHB members and their employees.

To subscribe, visit www.nahb.org/BoB on the Members Only side of the NAHB Web site.



NAHB Technology Solutions Directory Now Online

NAHB’s Technology Solutions Directory — an easy-to-use directory that enables builders, remodelers, contractors and other industry professionals to find information on software and IT solutions and services for their businesses — is now online. The directory is sponsored by the Business Management & Information Technology Committee

Software and technology solutions providers interested in being listed can sign up for:

  • Enhanced Listing — Listing includes company name, URL, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number, company/product description, company logo. Click here for more information.
     
  • Standard Listing — Listing includes company name and phone number. Click here for more information.


For more information, e-mail Wil Heslop at NAHB.

The Technology Solutions Directory is solely for educational and informational purposes.  Nothing in the directory should be construed as policy, an endorsement, warranty or guaranty by the National Association of Home Builders of the listed software, IT service or the software/IT vendor.  The National Association of Home Builders expressly disclaims any responsibility for any damages arising from the use, application or reliance on any information contained in this directory.

 

 

Regulations, Affordability Key Concerns for Production Builders

Government regulations, finding and training good help, anti-growth sentiment, housing affordability and inclusionary/exclusionary zoning are among the most challenging issues facing the industry, according to recent samplings of concerns taken of the members of NAHB’s Single Family Production Committee.


Production Builders'
 
 
Top 10 Concerns


Government Regulations

Finding/Training Good Help

Anti-Growth Sentiment

General Liability Insurance

Volatile Materials Costs

Land Development Issues

Staying Current

Workforce Housing

Entitlement Difficulties

Customer Financing Issues

While many of the issues have been key concerns to production builders for several years, workforce housing and housing affordability, as well as inclusionary/exclusionary zoning made it into the top 10 only recently.

“The underlying theme of our association has always been to provide a decent house and homeownership opportunities for every family,” said Greg Schwinn of Schwinn Construction in Lincoln, Neb. and the chairman of the NAHB Single-Family Production Committee.

“We want to make sure that as many people as possible have access to homeownership and are part of the ‘ownership society,’” Schwinn continued. “Those in the 80%-120% AMI (area median income) range are probably the hardest to serve in terms of homeownership opportunities, and that is a concern to us and the industry.”

Schwinn also noted that the cost and time involved in addressing government regulations at all levels have driven up the cost of housing. “There are so many regulations that you have to deal with — codes, the EPA, clean air, clean water, endangered species, wetlands permitting. There are so many things you need to look at, which of course adds to the cost of a house.”      

An informal poll of committee members was taken in July 2005 and again in January 2006.

The top 10 concerns are listed below, along with corresponding resources available to NAHB members only on the members side of the NAHB Web site:

  • Government Regulation

The Problem: Regulations at all levels of government that add needless time and costs to housing.

NAHB and its affiliated state and local associations work to ensure that housing remains a top national priority when policies are proposed, legislation is debated and regulations are discussed.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • To learn more about how NAHB works with Congress, click here.

  • Many codes and regulations are implemented on the local or state level. To find your local builders association, click here.

  • For information on managing your environmental responsibilities, click here.

  • For your state’s storm water permitting requirements, click here.

  • For information about the Endangered Species Act (ESA), click here.

  • For information about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) wetlands protection policies and practices, click here.

  • For information about the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), click here.

  • For information about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), click here.
  • Finding and Training Good Help

The Problem: A limited supply of craftspeople, trade contractors and laborers — brought about by the housing boom — is not expected to ease anytime soon, experts say. In addition, fewer young people are opting for careers in construction compared with years past.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • Anti-Growth Sentiment

The Problem: Growth in many communities has been stalled by a “not-in-my-backyard” attitude from local residents. When anti-development sentiment seeps into city hall, it can halt long-range infrastructure planning, reduce affordable housing options and discourage local business and economic well-being.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • General Liability Insurance and the Need for Tort Reform

The Problem: Consistently ranked as one of the top four concerns by members of state and local builders associations, escalating general liability insurance premiums and reduced coverage — or even the inability to obtain coverage — are hurting both builders and remodelers.

Multifamily property owners also are experiencing difficulties maintaining hazard insurance, rent loss coverage and workers’ compensation at levels commensurate with prior years.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • Volatile Material Costs and Shortages

The Problem: Factors such as rising housing demand, emerging international economies and trade policy disputes with Canada and Mexico have caused the cost of construction materials to skyrocket. Many suppliers are currently operating at maximum capacity, leaving little certainty to the future of materials availability or home builder profits.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • NAHB’s Building Materials Subcommittee monitors and reports on issues affecting the price and availability of critical building materials. Read their reports and findings online.

  • NAHB’s economists regularly publish updates on construction material trends and prices online at www.housingeconomics.com.

  • An escalation clause is one way to protect yourself in the event of materials price hikes. NAHB members can download one free.
  • Land Development Issues

The Problem: Land development is the backbone of the home building industry. However, this crucial function can threaten profits and housing affordability if too many roadblocks pop up.

Bureaucratic timetables for getting entitlement, interest groups that interject provisions into plans that are not market-driven, impact fees, other means of transferring infrastructure costs to builders and developers, anti-development sentiment and environmental regulation all add up to increased costs — and the increased cost of homeownership.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • NAHB devotes a section of NAHB Web site to land development issues. Visit the section by clicking here.

  • Land Development magazine, published quarterly by the NAHB Land Development Committee, provides useful, practical information on the complex issues developers face. For more information, click here.

  • The Builder’s Guide to the APA: Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook” can serve as a catalyst for changes to state and local planning policies. Find it online by clicking here.

  • The Impact Fees Handbook,” available online as a PDF document, is a guide for any member of the industry who needs to understand and respond to local impact fee initiatives. It covers basic facts and guides the reader to additional sources of information on impact fees. For more information, click here.

  • NAHB’s policy on impact fees is to seek and support legislation to provide mechanisms for facilitating broad-based infrastructure finance; support the use of community-wide resources such as property taxes, sales taxes, transfer taxes and income taxes to support infrastructure finance; and encourage government accountability of current and available funding sources before assessing any fee. For more information, go online to click here.
  • Staying Current on the Latest Product and Systems Innovations

The Problem: Suppliers are constantly developing new software systems and home tech products. To succeed in today’s competitive climate, it helps to stay current on new technologies that can help builders work more efficiently and profitably — and exceed their customers’ expectations.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • NAHB’s International Builders’ Show (IBS) is the one of the largest trade shows in the world. Learn about it at www.BuildersShow.com.

  • NAHB hosts meetings, trade shows and workshops throughout the year. For more information, click here.

  • The NAHB Research Center maintains case histories on a range of projects — from individual homes to entire subdivisions — that are pushing the state-of-the-art in design and construction innovation. Go online to learn more.

  • For help with your information technology infrastructure, visit NAHB’s Technology Solutions Directory at Technology Solutions Directory.

  • Keep up with your professional reading. NAHB publishes a wide variety of different publications — e-newsletters, magazines and more. To browse them, click here.
  • Inclusionary Zoning and Workforce/Affordable Housing

The Problem: Inclusionary zoning policies are a major roadblock to affordable housing for working families. Creating more affordable housing for working families requires political leadership, innovation and commitment to a broad array of strategies, not the Band-Aid of inclusionary zoning policies.

Resources for NAHB members: 

  • Read NAHB’s white paper, “The Builder’s Perspective on Inclusionary Zoning,” part of the “Smart Growth, Smart Choices” series of papers. The paper details the negative impact inclusionary zoning policies have had on creating affordable housing from coast to coast. It also explains how Baltimore, has managed to create thousands of affordable housing units in just three years, without price controls. The paper is available online.

     
  • Where is Workforce Housing Located? A Study of the Geography of Housing Affordability” investigates housing affordability for four occupations — teachers, police officers, nurses and retail sales persons — in the 25 largest metro areas in the country using data from the 2000 Census. The appendices show affordability maps and summary statistics in each metro area for each of the four occupations. The study is available online.

  • NAHB’s Legal Ordinance Review Program will examine and analyze ordinances based on constitutional, statutory and case law considerations. Generally, ordinances are reviewed for statutory compliance; procedural and substantive due process considerations; 5th Amendment takings; and other associated legal deficiencies. For more information, go online.

     
  • Read a summary of “Regulation and the Rise of Housing Prices in Greater Boston” as discussed during a press conference at the 2006 International Builders’ Show by clicking here. 
  • Entitlement Process Difficulties

The Problem: The land development industry faces increasing regulations and obstacles across different levels of government. The result is a lengthened approval process often accompanied by land shortages. Expert analysis helps housing industry professionals understand the myriad and complex issues affecting land development.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • Customer Financing Issues

The Problem: NAHB continually advocates affordable housing so that all American families can achieve the dream of homeownership. However, investors apparently taken advantage of “exotic” forms of adjustable-rate mortgages — including negative-amortization and interest-only loans — to the detriment of real homeownership in certain markets.

Resources for NAHB members:

  • For information on NAHB’s efforts to keep housing affordable, click here.

  • For more information about investor buying and what builders are doing to combat it, click here.


NAHB offers its members many more resources than those offered here. Visit www.nahb.org and log on to take full advantage of the resources available to NAHB members.

NAHB provides myriad legal resources both for members and state and local association staff. While the NAHB staff counsel cannot replace your local attorney, NAHB does offer legal research, litigation funding and litigation strategies depending on the situation and the issues involved. To learn more, visit NAHB’s Legal Services section at Legal Services section.

For more information about production builders, those who build more than 25 single family homes a year, visit www.nahb.org/PB.



NAHB Has More Than 250 Resources to Help You Run Your Business More Profitably

Go to NAHB's Business Management Tools Web pages (available to members only) for instant access to more than 250 timesaving, moneymaking and cost-cutting business resources to help you run your business more profitably. Get guidance on accounting and financial management, business strategy, computers and information technology, customer service, human resources and more.

Resources are added weekly, so bookmark www.nahb.org/biztools to go directly to these vital business management resources.

Local and state home builders associations can link directly to www.nahb.org/biztools from their Web site and give their members instant access to these resources. It will make your HBA's Web site the place to go for the information and guidance that members need to succeed.

 


 

Subscribe to NAHB’s Business of Building e/Source

NAHB’s Business of Building e/Source is your monthly electronic guide to the hot issues and emerging trends in home building business management. You’ll find practical advice, tricks of the trade and sound business guidance — all delivered monthly, straight to your desktop, in a quick and easy-to-read format. Business of Building e/Source is available free to NAHB members and their employees.

To subscribe, visit www.nahb.org/BoB on the Members Only side of the NAHB Web site.



NAHB Technology Solutions Directory Now Online

NAHB’s Technology Solutions Directory — an easy-to-use directory that enables builders, remodelers, contractors and other industry professionals to find information on software and IT solutions and services for their businesses — is now online. The directory is sponsored by the Business Management & Information Technology Committee

Software and technology solutions providers interested in being listed can sign up for:

  • Enhanced Listing — Listing includes company name, URL, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number, company/product description, company logo. Click here for more information.
     
  • Standard Listing — Listing includes company name and phone number. Click here for more information.


For more information, e-mail Wil Heslop at NAHB.

The Technology Solutions Directory is solely for educational and informational purposes.  Nothing in the directory should be construed as policy, an endorsement, warranty or guaranty by the National Association of Home Builders of the listed software, IT service or the software/IT vendor.  The National Association of Home Builders expressly disclaims any responsibility for any damages arising from the use, application or reliance on any information contained in this directory.

Two Honored for Contributions to 50+ Housing Industry

The NAHB 50+ Housing Council will honor a builder and a community designer/architect as the 2006 Icons of the Industry during the Building For Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium 2006 next week in Phoenix.

The two icons are:

  • Edward J. Robson, chairman of  Arizona-based Robson Communities
  • Mike Kephart, AIA, the founder and principal of KEPHART, the national design firm headquartered in Denver


“The Icons give us all something to aspire to,” said Norman Cohen, a Marietta, Ga.-based builder and chairman of the 50+ Housing Council. “The honorees have helped to shape the 50+ housing industry into what it is today — a vibrant, diverse, rapidly growing part of the building industry — and their influence will continue to touch the housing profession for years to come.”

Now in its sixth year, the Icons of the Industry Awards program recognizes individuals who have contributed to the 50+ housing industry through leadership and innovation during the last 15 years or more.

 

Robson

 

Edward J. Robson
, chairman of Robson Communities

Robson Communities markets and develops five active adult communities: PebbleCreek in the Phoenix area, SaddleBrooke in north Tucson, Quail Creek in Green Valley, Robson Ranch in Arizona's Casa Grande/Eloy area, and Robson Ranch in Denton, Texas. Robson’s two other communities, Sun Lakes and SunBird in the Phoenix area, are sold out.

Robson Communities and its affiliated companies have sold and built nearly 20,000 homes and employ more than 1,500 people.

Robson has worked as a real estate agent, broker, developer and more. He says he gained his most valuable experience as director of corporate sales for the Del Webb Corporation in the early 1960s, and cites company founder Del Webb as his mentor.

A former member of the U.S. Olympics hockey team, Robson is the recipient of numerous awards for both his business achievements and humanitarian work.

 

Kephart

 

Mike Kephart
, AIA, founder and principal of KEPHART

KEPHART is a nationally recognized community design firm that designs planned communities and housing with sensitivity to municipal concerns, environmental diversity and builder profitability.

Established in 1974, the firm has won numerous industry awards. Kephart led the firm into the 50+ housing field in 1990 with the design of Viewpoint, an age-targeted community in North Olmstead, Ohio. KEPHART has since designed numerous 50+ housing communities.

Kephart continues in a mentorship role at KEPHART.

The two will be honored during the Icons of the Industry luncheon, which will also feature a discussion by former Del Webb CEO LeRoy C. Hanneman, Jr., currently of Element Homes in Phoenix.


 

Register On-Site for the 50+ Housing Symposium

Do you want to learn more about the fastest-growing segment of the housing market? Online registration is closed, but you can still register on-site for “Building for Boomers & Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium 2006,” April 24-26 in Phoenix.

The seniors housing symposium is the premier educational and networking event for industry professionals who serve the burgeoning 50+ market.

For more information, click here.



Find Out What Boomers Want

Boomers on the Horizon: Housing Preferences of the 55+ Market,” available through BuilderBooks.com, can help you better build and market homes to this age group.

Capitalize on the niches, needs and opportunities of this rapidly growing market by learning their preferences. To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

To learn more about the 2006 50+ Housing Symposium, which will be held April 24-26 in Phoenix, click here.

NAHB Has ‘Remodeling Month’ Resources for You

This ad, produced by the NAHB Remodelors™ Council, is one of the many resources available to members to help promote themselves and the industry during National Home Remodeling Month throughout May.

May is “National Home Remodeling Month,” and if you or your local Remodelors™ Council are looking for new marketing ideas or ways to increase remodeling awareness, take advantage of the NAHB Remodelors™ Council’s nationwide campaign blitz to promote it.

The council has developed a National Remodeling Month Kit that includes easily customizable press releases and articles and offer plenty of marketing ideas to help promote remodeling throughout May.

In addition, the kit includes at step-by-step guide to lead you through the campaign.

The materials available in the kit include:

Press Materials


Consumer Articles


Industry Articles


Marketing Tools


Consumer Information


For more information, or for ideas to promote and plan events for “Remodeling Month” in May, e-mail Jim Lapides at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8451.

ESA Regulations: Tell Us How Well They're Working

NAHB is continuing to work on ways to make the regulations under the Endangered Species Act easier for builders to understand and put into practice. We’re hoping you can help.

NAHB staff needs to better understand the issues that builders and developers face as regulators interpret the ESA. If you are aware of any particularly egregious instances where you feel as though the ESA has been abused or has operated in a counter-productive fashion, NAHB would like to know.  

We’re particularly interested in problems you have getting construction projects approved, permitting issues, attempts to list species found on the property, any difficulty in determining if already protected species are even on the property and, of course, any enforcement actions or lawsuits.

Bring us your issues, big and small, and help us figure out a way that homes can be built, endangered species can be protected, and the ESA and the industry can coexist successfully.

E-mail, Calli Schmidt, NAHB environmental communications director, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132 with your comments.

At Barely 30, Self Storage Comes of Age

By Tim Dietz, Self Storage Association
An industry barely three decades old has become one of the most popular kids on the block. But what lies ahead? 

Plenty of Americans have found self storage a useful way to “declutter” their lives — about 27 million households or about 9%, and more than a few businesses, according to a study about self storage demand by the Self Storage Association (SSA) released last year.

The self storage industry had annual revenues of more than $15 billion last year. In contrast, the U.S. motion picture industry had annual revenues of $10 billion.

Of all the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) in 2005, self storage posted the largest returns of any real estate sector — 23% — beating malls by 4%, multifamily residences by nearly 10% and hotels by 13%.

Construction of self storage facilities does not show any sign of flattening either, although many in the industry will quietly tell you that some areas have an “over-inventory” or are over-saturated.

During the past 15 years, the self storage industry has witnessed 5%-8% growth annually, and currently boasts 45,365 primary facilities and 9,585 secondary storage businesses. (The SSA classified limited storage operations opened by service stations, auctioneers and other like-minded businesses as “secondary” storage businesses.)

The breadth of the industry certainly indicates that self storage is no longer flying under the radar. Initially operated by a few farsighted entrepreneurs, now just about everyone — from Prudential Securities to boxer Oscar De La Hoya — wants a piece of storage’s remarkable returns.

Prudential’s entrée into the action was the largest deal in the self storage industry’s history — $2.3 billion for the acquisition of the Storage USA portfolio from General Electric in partnership with Utah’s Extra Space Storage. De La Hoya entered the ring with Golden Boy Self Storage, which will be opening facilities in Southern California.

Very Humble Beginnings

Richard Tanner, executive vice president at Extra Space Storage, which was founded in Utah in 1977, said the industry in the early years was tied together with chained link fences. “It really grew out of a need and an opportunity,” said Tanner. “Sometimes you’d pull up to a place and see units cordoned off by chicken wire. There wasn’t much to it.”

The chicken wire has given way to steel and concrete structures, and to security systems that would make the CIA proud. And, today, the industry is an eclectic mix of large REITs, mid-size partnerships and small “mom and pop” facilities.

But as the industry has become more sophisticated, it has also struggled to find — and define — itself. For instance, should the industry be classified as warehousing or retail? The classification impacts legal, regulatory and tax issues, as well as companies’ bottom lines, and the Self Storage Association has been fighting a growing proliferation of states that consider the rental of storage property as a taxable retail service — something that the multifamily and commercial sectors are not burdened with.

The Self Storage Food Chain

Acquisition has become a large part of the industry. The sheer size of portfolios and money at play in the industry today is titanic, largely because development takes time and can be costly. In March 2005, Public Storage CEO Ronald Havner, Jr. advised investors,

“The easy money on the development side is gone,” said Havner. “You have to allow six-to-eight months for zoning, six-to-10 months for building and two-to-four years to fill it up. In the short-term, I see the repackaging pipeline more than I see the development pipeline.”

Among REITs last year, U-Store-It completed a $212 million National Self Storage acquisition, Extra Space Storage joined with Prudential to acquire Storage USA and Public Storage acquired Shurgard.

Small- and mid-sized operators were also active, with properties changing hands frequently. As REITs added hundreds, partners and others added dozens. The institutional funding made the opportunities too great for many small existing operators who, appreciatively, cashed in and sent their facilities up the food chain.

But all this activity leaves storage professionals wondering if they can continue to tempt fate and buck the commercial and housing real estate trends in 2006 as they did in 2005. “It is reasonable to assume that the percentage of institutional ownership of storage facilities nationwide will continue to increase; however, this percentage increase in ownership will be predominantly in the investment grade facilities,” said Jim Davies of Buchanan Storage Capital.  

The notion of investment grade facilities, and the recognition of their reciprocal value to institutional players, may well be the difference between the muddled styles of property and strategies of yesteryear and the contemporary models.

Investment grade facilities can be defined loosely by such criteria as 50,000 rentable square feet (minimally), a location on a major thoroughfare with direct access to traffic, concrete block or tilt-up construction, and certain population benchmarks. Non-investment grade facilities will likely continue in the comfortable, fragmented model that was the hallmark of the industry until the last decade or so.

H. James Knuppe of RAS Management Co. in Castro Valley, Calif. and an original industry founder, is working with NAHB’s National Commercial Builders Council on its niche manual, “Mini Storage Revisited.” The handbook is expected to be reissued later this year.

Tim Dietz is the vice president of communications and government relations for the Self Storage Association. For more information, e-mail  Dietz, or visit the association’s Web site at www.selfstorage.org.



‘Moving to Commercial Construction’ Available at BuilderBooks.com

Moving to Commercial Construction,” available through BuilderBooks.com, offers the general contractor, subcontractor and designer several step-by-step methods that will make the move from residential to commercial building a successful one.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

Want to Know More About Designations? Ask an Expert

The NAHB University of Housing recently implemented “Ask an Expert,” a new service on the NAHB Web site for members seeking or earning designations.

"Ask an Expert" allows members to e-mail designation program graduates with questions that will help then earn their CSP, Master CSP, CMP or MIRM designations.

The graduates will field questions and concerns ranging from course content, to the designation process, to how the designation has benefited them.

So, if you're thinking about enrolling in the CSP, Master CSP, CMP or MIRM designation programs or have already started the necessary course work and have questions or concerns, visit “Ask an Expert” on the NAHB Web site.

A variety of designation holders will provide you with guidance and help you navigate the ins and outs of the program.



Learn More About The NAHB University of Housing

Whether you’re new to the industry, hope to make your next career move or want to improve your company’s bottom line, The NAHB University of Housing can assist you in your educational pursuits.

Visit www.nahb.org/education for a comprehensive listing of courses throughout the country. Be sure to visit often in order to view the most up-to-date information in your area.



Register Now for the Design Institute

At the NAHB/BALA Design Institute for Builders, you'll learn the latest in residential housing design trends from the industry's top professionals, tour beautiful award-winning homes and communities that display the best in cutting-edge architectural design, and learn how to profitably apply these design ideas to the homes you build.
 
The Design Institute will be held June 5-7 at the Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, N.C.
 
To register and for detailed information, visit www.nahb.org/designinstitute.
 

 

Log In and Discover www.nahb.org

The NAHB Web site, www.nahb.org, gives you access to nearly 5,000 pages of housing industry information and exclusive members-only resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access is fast, easy and free to NAHB members.

To take full advantage of the exclusive NAHB members-only resources on www.nahb.org, however, you must log in.

To create your login: 

  1. Go to www.nahb.org/login. 
  2. Fill in the required fields.
  3. Click ‘Submit.’


Access to Information That Works for You

By logging onto the NAHB Web site, you will have access to twice as much information as non-members — information that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

You will be able to view and read entire sections of content developed just for members, and you will be able to personalize the site to your specific interests.

To learn more, log in and visit the "How to Use" www.nahb.org section in My NAHB.

For questions or help logging in, call 800-368-5242 x0; or e-mail your name, company name, state and phone number to login@nahb.org.

Education Calendar

April 24-26

Building for Boomers and Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium 2006

Phoenix, Ariz.

April 27

Construction Forecast Conference — Spring 2006

Washington, D.C.

May 21-22

Building Systems Councils Modular and Panel Plant Tour

Appleton and Wausau, Wis.

June 5-7

2006 NAHB/BALA Design Institute for Builders

Charlotte, N.C.

June 11-13

Building Systems Councils Concrete Tour & Conference

Phoenix, Ariz.

Aug. 1-6

2006 EOC Seminar

Uncasville, Conn.

Oct. 20-22

National Conference on Membership

San Antonio, Texas

Oct. 25

Fall Construction Forecast Conference

Washington, D.C.

Oct. 27-29

2006 Custom Builder Symposium

Las Vegas, Nev.

Nov. 5-8

2006 Building Systems Councils SHOWCASE

Miami, Fla.

Nov. 9-11

State & Local Government Affairs Conference

New Orleans, La.

2007

 

 

Feb. 7-10

2007 International Builders' Show

Orlando, Fla.

 


 

Learn More About The NAHB University of Housing

Whether you’re new to the industry, hope to make your next career move or want to improve your company’s bottom line, The NAHB University of Housing can assist you in your educational pursuits.

Visit www.nahb.org/education for a comprehensive listing of courses throughout the country. Be sure to visit often in order to view the most up-to-date information in your area.

 


 

Register Now for the Design Institute

At the NAHB/BALA Design Institute for Builders, you'll learn the latest in residential housing design trends from the industry's top professionals, tour beautiful award-winning homes and communities that display the best in cutting-edge architectural design, and learn how to profitably apply these design ideas to the homes you build.
 
The Design Institute will be held June 5-7 at the Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, N.C.
 
To register and for detailed information, visit www.nahb.org/designinstitute.
 


Log In and Discover www.nahb.org

The NAHB Web site, www.nahb.org, gives you access to nearly 5,000 pages of housing industry information and exclusive members-only resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access is fast, easy and free to NAHB members.

To take full advantage of the exclusive NAHB members-only resources on www.nahb.org, however, you must log in.

To create your login: 

  1. Go to www.nahb.org/login. 
  2. Fill in the required fields.
  3. Click ‘Submit.’


Access to Information That Works for You

By logging onto the NAHB Web site, you will have access to twice as much information as non-members — information that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

You will be able to view and read entire sections of content developed just for members, and you will be able to personalize the site to your specific interests.

To learn more, log in and visit the "How to Use" www.nahb.org section in My NAHB.

For questions or help logging in, call 800-368-5242 x0; or e-mail your name, company name, state and phone number to login@nahb.org.

Take Steps to Avoid the West Nile Virus

With the summer months quickly approaching, it’s important to caution everyone who works out of doors to use extra care and caution in the prevention of bug bites.

One inherent danger is mosquito bites. The West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to other animals through bites. It was first reported in the United States in the summer of 1999 and has now been found in 41 states. The geographic range of the West Nile virus detected within the United States has expanded each year.

Workers at highest risk of exposure to the virus are those working outdoors during dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are actively biting. Those occupations at risk include construction workers, roofers and painters, among others. The only known route of exposure is through a mosquito bite. Human to human or animal to animal transmission is not known to occur.

Mosquitoes can breed in any water or puddle that stands for more than four days. Those who work at sites near stagnant pools, ponds and irrigation ditches or any other stagnant bodies of water may be at an increased risk of mosquito exposure. Ideally, although probably impractical, it’s best to avoid working outdoors during peak biting periods.

Employers can take steps to reduce potential exposure by removing the sources of standing water:

  • Turn over, cover or remove equipment such as tarps, buckets, barrels and wheel barrows that accumulate water.
  • Discard tires, buckets, cans and containers that may collect at a building site.
  • Place drain holes in containers that cannot be discarded.
  • Fill in ruts or other areas where water accumulates.


Employees can reduce their risk by using personal protective measures:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
  • Spray exposed skin with insect repellent, although it’s strongly advised to read and follow all label directions.
  • Use repellents containing 35% or less DEET.
  • Do not apply any repellent to cuts, wounds or irritated skin.
  • Spray clothing with products containing DEET or permethrin.
  • Do not apply DEET repellents under clothing.

   
Symptoms of the West Nile virus include fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint pain. Signs of severe infection include high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis. The time of incubation from mosquito bite to clinical symptoms varies, but is reported to be from three to 15 days. While some may not experience any symptoms, others over the age of 50 have reported moderate to severe symptoms.

Workers who have health concerns should contact their health care providers. If a worker is at risk for West Nile and shows signs of the infection, a simple blood sample can be sent to a laboratory for testing. While there is no specific cure for the virus, treatment usually consists of supportive care. In severe cases, this may involve support of the circulatory, respiratory or renal systems.  Currently, there is no approved vaccine to prevent the West Nile virus in humans.

Janet Jackewich is the director of safety at Florida Home Builders Insurance, Inc., the insurance subsidiary of the Florida Home Builders Association.

This article was reprinted with permission from the Florida Home Builders Association.

Trade Associations Are Well Worth Your Time

Trade association involvement can lead to more exposure for your company.

But there are so many trade associations you can join, you have to be careful to participate only in those that will give you the best return on the time you give them.

One association that you and your key employees should continue to be a member of is your local home builders association. You also should consider being an active member of your local chamber of commerce and the county board of Realtors® in your area.

However, don’t join these groups unless you and your associates have the time to participate on committees at each one. Participation is the key.

If you don’t think you have the time to give these groups, join them one at a time, not all at once, so you can gauge how much time you have to give.

If you are active in more than one group, it is also advantageous to join a similar committee on each one. For instance, if you serve on the economic development committee of the chamber of commerce, then serve on the economic development committee of all the other groups. By serving on like committees, you can consolidate your volunteer workload and maximize your effectiveness.

The best three committees to join in any of these organizations are:

  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Public Relations


By serving on the economic development committee, you can determine where new business in your community is going to come from — whether locally, regionally, nationally or even internationally. The economic development committee will put you at the threshold of new business, and that will benefit your company.

As a representative of the educational committee, you can create the best programs for the organization and, of course, for your own company’s employees. You can attract outstanding speakers at a nominal cost for your employees while offering education for everyone.

Serving on the public relations committee will enable you to promote the organization, but you’ll be able to promote your company in the process. As a volunteer on the public relations committee, you will have access to the media and can leverage this access to create opportunities to publicize your company .

All of this involvement is worthwhile if you are willing to play the role and participate.

Choose positive people to work with and try to place yourself in a position of responsibility. Not only will you have fun, you will be able to accomplish positive results.

S. Robert August, MIRM, is president and founder of S.Robert August & Company, Inc., a national marketing and public relations firm based in Denver that specializes in providing home builders, developers, Realtors®, manufacturers and lenders marketing/management consultation and sales training. August is an owner of Colorado-based RealtyWorks, Inc. a real estate brokerage company. He is also past chairman of NAHB’s National Sales and Marketing Council. For more information, contact August by phone at 303-220-8480 or via e-mail.



Subscribe to Sales + Marketing Ideas Magazine for Cutting-Edges Information

For additional cutting-edge sales and marketing information, subscribe to NAHB’s Sales + Marketing Ideas Magazine (http://www.smimagazine.com/). Click here to learn about membership benefits of the National Sales and Marketing Council and the Institute of Residential Marketing.



Earn Valuable Sales and Marketing Designations Through IRM Programs

The Institute of Residential Marketing (IRM) offers four designation programs for sales and marketing professionals:

  • The MIRM designation programs for new home marketing professionals
  • The CSP and MCSP designation programs for new home sales professionals


For more information on these designation programs, click here.

Ask an Expert

You also can ask designation holders questions about obtaining a designation, specific courses, case studies and more. "Ask An Expert" is available on the NAHB Web site by clicking here.



BuilderBooks.com Offers Sales and Marketing Publications Online

BuilderBooks.com offers a variety of sales and marketing publications online. To view or purchase these publications, click here.

New Home Sales a Sweet Success

 

 

"Sweet Success in New Home Sales" is published by and available at BuilderBooks.com

Sweet Success in New Home Sales,” a new book published by BuilderBooks.com, shows sales personnel and builders how to cultivate success when the competition for buyers heats up. This book is about increasing market shares, profit margins and personal incomes.

An instructive and inspirational guide of powerful techniques for selling more homes, making more money and enjoying the profession of new home sales, “Sweet Success in New Home Sales” lays out proven approaches to crafting and delivering sales excellence.

Author Bill Webb, MIRM, with more than 25 years of sales training and management coaching in the industry, helps teach sales personnel and builders how to convert their actions into revenue, take charge of the sales process and establish trust by genuinely putting the customer's interests first.

To order a copy of “Sweet Success in New Home Sales” online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

Bill Webb has generously donated his royalties to the NAHB National Housing Endowment for construction trades training.

Kitchens and Baths Are Getting Bigger

The size of the kitchen and the size and number of bathrooms in the American home are on an upswing, according to the American Institute of Architect's Home Design Survey for the final quarter of last year.

More than 40% of the architectural firms participating in the survey noted the trend, and a quarter of them also indicated that the number of kitchens — defined as separate facilities or secondary food storage or preparation areas — was also increasing.

“Both the square feet devoted to kitchens and the number of separate cooking facilities throughout the home are increasing, including the additions of outdoor kitchens in many areas of the country,” said Kermit Baker, the institute’s chief economist.

“As far as specific trends in kitchen design, granite countertops, natural wood cabinets and drinking water filtration systems are especially popular,” he said. “Upscale products and features are going into bathroom design as well, shown by heated floors and towel racks, and even fireplaces becoming more common in homes, while heat lamps and whirlpools aren’t nearly as prevalent.”

Residential architects reported adding more pantry space and more upper-end appliances in the kitchen and increasingly integrating kitchen space with family space for younger children and other family members. New features are also being piled on in roomier bathrooms, including such upscale products as multi-head showers, hand showers and even steam showers.

The survey identified rising popularity for a number of kitchen products and features:

  • Larger pantry space (reported by 56% of the firms)
  • High-end appliances (55%)
  • Integration with family space (53%)
  • Natural stone counters (53%)
  • Island work areas (35%)
  • Natural wood cabinets (32%)


Thirty-seven percent reported that synthetic solid surface countertops were declining in popularity.

Bathroom products and features with growing demand, according to the firms that were surveyed, include:

  • Multi-head shower (63%)
  • Steam shower (35%)
  • Multiple vanities (29%)
  • Separate showers (28%)


Forty-one percent reported a downturn in the popularity of heat lamps and 31% said that whirlpools were losing ground.

Sink and Urinal Combo a 19th Century Bathroom Curiosity

It seems highly unlikely that more than a handful of Mr. Jennings’ combined lavatory, urinal and sink fixtures ever made it out of the showroom on Beekman Street in New York City back in 1876. However, on the off-chance that one might show up on “Antiques Roadshow” and confound the experts, following is the description — and the rationale — for this unusual equipage.

“Experienced housekeepers know that the common arrangement of our present wash-basins, convenient as it is, has still a few objectionable features. They are: the hole at the bottom which frequently becomes choked up; the plug with chains, being metallic, soon becomes dirty-looking; the narrowness of the waste-pipe causes the easy accumulation of obstructions; and the usual absence of any traps, causes sewer gases to be often perceptible over the basins.” These objections, the editor notes, have been overcome in the combined lavatory, urinal and sink.

This piece of furniture is shown “in Figure 1 as it appears when closed and ready for use as a wash-basin or slop-sink, and in Figure 2 when open and ready for use as a urinal.”

The description continues: “The basin has no hole, or metallic connection in contact with the water, and is emptied by tipping it up, when the contents run in the sink under it, and accumulations or deposits at the sides of the basin are prevented. In this tipped-up condition it is a regular slop-sink provided with a trap, through which waste waters are at once discharged and carried away into the house drain, so that no smell or sewer-gas can escape into the building; for security the pan and trap are made of one piece, of earthenware, without joints. When the front door is opened (see Figure 2) the arrangement is adapted for a urinal, which would not be suspected when closed, as in Figure 1, when it forms a handsome piece of furniture which occupies no more space than a common washstand. These tip-up basins are also made without the combination of slop-sink, and in a sanitary point are far superior to the old style plug-basin.”

With that less than illuminating description as a recommendation — or perhaps in spite of it — it’s no real surprise that Mr. Jennings’ innovation isn’t a common household fixture today. But if one should come to light in a rehab job or tucked away in an ancient warehouse, at least we will know its intended use.

Courtesy of Cornell University Library, Making of America Digital Collection
The Manufacturer and Builder magazine.
Volume 8, Issue 11, November 1876  pp. 259

Southern Nevadans Working to Address Housing Crisis

Confronting rapidly rising home prices and diminishing apartment options, the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association earlier this month participated in and helped sponsor a one-day conference to find answers for meeting the housing needs of the Las Vegas area, whose population is expected to grow by 1.3 million new residents over the next 20 years.

Presented by the Nevada State Education Association, which represents local school teachers, the conference on workforce housing was attended by about 200 Southern Nevadans representing stakeholders in local housing issues.

"We were interested in participating in the planning and execution of this conference because there is a need for affordable and attainable housing in Southern Nevada," said Irene Porter, executive director of the home builders association. "Ultimately, some of our builders will be called upon to deliver that product. Given those facts, it was important that the home building industry's perspective be included at the conference, and incorporated into the drafting of a plan of action."

Porter added that, "The home building industry's perspective particularly focuses on bringing economies to the cost of a home through a reduction in fees, a reduction in the time frames for the development process and changes in other regulations, such as density, zoning and design standards which, together with other actions, could lead to the delivery of a great affordable product."

Median housing prices in Las Vegas in February were almost $309,000 for a new home, including condo conversions, over $345,000 not counting conversions and $282,000 for an existing home. The median price of a new home, including condos, was up 10.6% last year, following a 38.5% surge in 2004. The median household income in metro Las Vegas’s Clark County, with a population of 1.75 million, was just over $47,000 last year, and about 36% of the households there were renters.

A key objective of the conference was to come up with an action plan to develop an advocacy program to educate elected officials, business people and the public about the need to expand the area’s supply of workforce housing.

Several barriers to affordable housing were identified at the conference:

  • The availability and cost of land
  • Regulatory barriers such as zoning ordinances, exclusionary zoning, impact fees and processing times
  • The lack of “community will” to address the problem
  • The cost of construction defect litigation, insurance and legislation
  • Lack of incentive programs or mechanisms for securing funding
  • Complexities of securing Bureau of Land Management land for workforce housing
  • Increasing development costs, including construction costs


Among strategies discussed were the pursuit of non-traditional, less costly housing types and exploring innovations in design and development. At the same time, it was acknowledged that existing home owners need to be reassured that higher density development will not lead to lower property values.

Discussions explored expanding the role of non-profit building groups and financial institutions in resolving the problem, the appropriateness of community land trusts, the usefulness of linkage fees, the role of public and private partnerships and identifying opportunities for employer-provided housing.

Florida Site Sparks Student Interest in Housing Careers

In a recent full-day visit to Florida’s planned community of Palencia, located just outside of St. Augustine, some 450 local students and Home Builders Institute (HBI) trainees from the Jacksonville Job Corps Center received a first-hand look at the many career possibilities that await them in the housing industry.

This was the first time that many of the students had been to an actual home construction site, and from its muddy ruts to its gabled roofs, the development provided a memorable experience for those itching to put on a pair of work boots and a hard hat as well as those more inclined to check out the floor finishes or paint colors.

Led by the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA), and also including the participation of St. John’s River Community College, the event took four months to plan and was organized by members of the advisory board for HBI’s “Building Today’s Workforce for Tomorrow” program.

"We invited all construction and design students from Baker, Clay, Duval and St. John’s counties," said Laura Laseman, NEFBA’s training director. "Our intent is to keep kids interested in construction as a career, to show them all of the aspects of the industry and to get them fired up."

Student tours were led by teams that included home builders association members, Palencia sales staff and craft skills professionals. Laseman added that Palencia — which consists of about 2,400 single-family, condominium and town homes on 2,200 acres — was an ideal site for observing a wide range of activity.

Noting the healthy interaction of the students with their tour guides, Anna Lebesch, vice president of workforce development at the community college, said that, "We want to get students enthused about construction because it's vital to our economy."

HBI’s “Building Today’s Workforce for Tomorrow” grant was awarded by the Department of Labor as part of the President’s “High Growth Job Training Initiative.” In addition to Florida, training sites are up and running in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

For more information on “Building Today’s Workforce for Tomorrow,” e-mail John Shortt at HBI, or call him at 800-795-7955 x8924.

Martha Stewart, Tony Soprano on Drive-By Home Tour

Driving through neighborhoods is one of the best ways home owners get ideas for building a new home or remodeling an existing one, according to “Driving Design: From the Front Seat to the Front Porch,” a recent study by Harris Interactive and Therma-Tru Doors.

Headquartered in Maumee, Ohio, Therma-Tru Corporation is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — The Supplier 100 of NAHB.

The survey found that nearly 70% of home owners tour neighborhoods in their cars looking for ideas and products to incorporate into their homes. This is especially popular among those with household incomes between $50,000 and $99,000 (77%); those ages 35-54 (75%); and those living in the South (75%). Nearly 25% reported taking photographs of homes they like for future reference.

Therma-Tru research also showed that for a majority, the front door and front porch are among the most attention-getting elements and the second most common item that home owners want to change in their homes.

Among the survey findings:

  • Landscaping receives the greatest scrutiny in drive-bys, studied by 94% of the women and 84% of the men who were surveyed. Seventy percent of women and 72% of men said they take a look at the architectural style of the homes on their tour. The front door and front porch were the next items on the list for women, reported to be worth a passing glance by 67% and 65%, respectively, and by a somewhat smaller share of men. Seventy-three percent of the men said they look at siding and the exterior surface, compared to 58% of women.

  • Sixty-three percent of the women and 60% of the men said they would be willing to copy a house they liked.

  • More than half of the female respondents (53%) and 70% of younger home owners 18-34 years old said they would copy all or certain elements of a celebrity’s home. Those most worth emulating included Martha Stewart's farmhouse (cited by 26% of women and 24% of men); Tony Soprano’s home on “The Sopranos” (12% and 14%); the suburban Chicago home in “Home Alone” (13%, 11%); Susan Myer’s home on “Desperate Housewives” (7% for both sexes); and Bree Van de Camp’s home on the same program (7% and 0%).

  • When remodeling or building a new home, the home owners indicated that they first consult home magazines (66% women and 55% men) and home improvement and gardening television and radio shows (56% and 48%), followed by friends and family (55% and 44%), neighboring homes (45% and 50%) and construction professionals (38% and 59%). Only 10% of both sexes consult newspapers.

  • Thirty percent of men said they were most likely to go to construction professionals as their primary source for advice, while women go first to home improvement magazines (24%) and friends and family (23%).

  • When it comes to changing one exterior element of their current home, home owners said they would start with a landscaping upgrade to their yard (24% women and 20% men), followed by the front door or front porch (18% and 17%), siding or exterior surface (15% and 13%), architectural style (13% and 9%) and windows (11% and 15%).

  • Siding and windows were the top changes in the East (18% for each), where an aging housing stock is more in need of these upgrades. Landscaping led in the South and Midwest (24% each) and the West (23%). Only 11% said they would not make any changes to their home.

  • Thirty percent said they would change their homes because of old, out-of-date styles and materials, followed by poor condition (26%), ugly design or color (15%), improper fit with the home’s architectural style (6%) and faulty installation (3%).


This feature is solely for educational and informational purposes. Nothing on this page should be construed as policy, an endorsement, warranty or guaranty by the National Association of Home Builders of the featured product or the product manufacturer. The National Association of Home Builders expressly disclaims any responsibility for any damages arising from the use, application or reliance on any information contained on this page.

Creeping Wood

Dear Tim,

Your answer [from a previous column concerning the use of collar ties to fix a sagging roof] was that collar ties would not do anything vertically to correct the deflection and you advised the man about a Plan A, use of truss uprights off the tension cord, or Plan B,  installation of sister rafters. The thought that occurs to me is that there was no mention about how to achieve the correction to the original rafters.

Are you expecting the use of posts and jacks to push out the deflection prior to attaching companion boards?

If so, where is the best starting point or sequence for that: center, ends, series of jacks, one at a time? It seems to me this is a tricky staging proposition to achieve the right set-up prior to executing.

Really appreciate your thoughts here.

Wayne

Buffalo, N.Y.

Wayne,

Before answering your excellent questions, a little clarification is in order. My original column on collar ties ran in November, 2004 and was fairly short and sweet. I upgraded and expanded it considerably for publication in my book, “Cracks, Sags and Dimwits,” Lulu press, www.lulu.com, a year later. If you haven’t read the book version, you’re only getting about half of the story. And, that original column — unlike my book — did not include the case study of the old church building, which had the same affliction you’re now wrangling with and what we did to correct it.

The gist is that collar ties will reduce the stress in a rafter slightly, but in doing so shift forces around to other elements and connections that can’t take it — and so are not a recommended fix. The recommended solution is to add vertical or diagonal support to the rafters by installing posts (aka “kickers”) and connecting them to bearing walls below.

You are correct in your observation that I did not say how to get back the sag. More on that in a minute.

First a little background on bent wood. When a load — any load — is placed on a beam, joist or rafter, said member will deflect (sag). If the load is small, the deflection may not be noticeable. If the load is large, the deflection increases proportionately.

If a large load is applied for a short term, say from temporary construction materials or from snow, and everything else about the member is okay, the deflection will be elastic. That is, like a rubber band, the wood will spring back to its original shape when the load is removed.

I italicized “and everything else about the member is okay” because most badly sagging members fail this basic tenet. Consider: there is a span for which any beam’s own self-weight will cause it to fail. Say, for example, we have a 2x4 that is 50-feet long. Have a guy on each end pick it up and it will break in the middle under its own weight.

The point is that any beam, joist or rafter can be overspanned even before snow or construction workers or any other live load is applied.

Most of us in the construction industry aren’t so dimwitted as to try to span a 2x4 50 feet. However, we may try to span one 15 feet and then subject it to a Rocky Mountain winter.

In the old days, BC, (Before ConstructionCalc software), builders sized beams, joists and rafters using the “back of the thumb” method, which went something like this:

FRAMER FRANK (from his teetering position atop the walls of a house under construction): “Hey, Joe, I’m framing up this roof system. What do we have a lot of in our boneyard?”

LABORER JOE: “Looks like we got a big batch of 2x4s left over from the Yellapiddle job.”

FRAMER FRANK: “Think they’ll span this 30-foot roof system?”

LABORER JOE (sighting down the length of his arm at the back of his skyward-pointing thumb): “Yeah… yeah, I think so. That’d be 15-foot per side. We’ve spanned 32-foot before with 2x4s and never had no prollem.”

FRAMER FRANK: “Okay, pack 'em up here. You know, Joe, with your knowledge of shears, moments and deflections, you should have been an engineer.”

LABORER JOE: “An engineer! Frank, you’re killing me. That’s the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said. I been building this-a-way for 50 years and ain’t never needed no engineer yet.”

Overstressing can be caused by overspanning, as in the above example, or it can be from overloading. Or it can be from both. Some common causes of overloading follow:

  • Snow:

    • From a freakishly heavy storm.

    • From a normal storm, but the snow is extraordinarily wet. Water content of snow can vary wildly.

    • From a normal snowstorm followed by a cold rain, which the snow soaks up like a sponge.

    • Snow dumping from an upper roof onto a lower one.

    • From a strong wind that piles it up against a parapet, chimney or leeward side of a roof.

    • From ice damming at the low edge of an eave, which can back up piles of snow on the roof, and in extreme cases, can curl under the eave, hanging there, adding tremendous weight.

  • Rain on a flat roof with a plugged downspout. (This caused the collapse of the roof on my favorite grocery in Sacramento, Calif. when I was in college there. Interesting story, that. The roof creaked and groaned so loudly under the extreme load that everybody inside was scared out of their wits and fled the building before it caved in. That’s one nice thing about wood — it generally warns you before rupturing.)

  • A party in which too many people crowd too small a space. Chintzy decks in older apartment buildings are notorious for this.

  • Builders stacking too much material in too small an area on a roof or floor, especially if the decking isn’t installed yet to distribute the load and to keep the rafters or joists from flopping over.

  • Any cantilevered (overhanging) joist, rafter or beam with an overhang of three-feet or more. This is generally not a case of rupture (breakage) but rather a permanent deflection (dip) at the far end of the cantilever.


Wood creeps, meaning that when it is overloaded or overspanned for a long time (years, usually) it will deflect permanently. You can’t get this “plastic” deformation back. Well, let me qualify that. You could get it back using heat, moisture and constant pressure, like wood benders do. However, in most rafter and joist situations that is not an option — which is why I didn’t mention it in my original collar tie column.

Now, to answer the specific question: no, I’m not expecting the use of jacks or posts to recapture any permanent (plastic) deformation. You might undeflect the members slightly with jacks or come-alongs, but the instant you removed them, sproing, right back they’d pop. So you’re left to make your repairs as best you can dealing with permanently sagged wood. If you can’t live with that, there isn’t much you can do but tear the whole shootinmatch out and start over. Or, hire a professional wood bender.

Infomercial Postscript. Every builder, remodeler, and designer should own a beam, rafter, joist sizing computer program for the very reasons alluded to above. As a testament, after five years of beating my contractor-remodeler brother over the head to give ConstructionCalc ProBeam a try, he finally took the plunge. “Timultuous,” he gushed a few days later, “Timultuous, you really should market and sell this program! It gives me 20 alternatives — in any material I want! And, when I show the printout to my clients, they are soooo impressed.”

I didn’t bother to remind him that I have been marketing and selling it for over five years now. Brother.

Tim Garrison of ConstructionCalc.com, is a professional engineer, author, and software producer for the building industry. Check out his new book, "Cracks, Sags, and Dimwits — Lessons To Build On," available at www.lulu.com, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Send e-mail to buildersengineer@constructioncalc.com. Tim reads every one.

This column cannot be reprinted without permission from the author.

The views expressed in this article represent the personal views, statements and opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views, statements, opinions or policies of the National Association of Home Builders. NAHB does not necessarily endorse any of the views expressed by the author and NAHB is not responsible for any direct or indirect consequences arising out of the views expressed in this article.

NAHB-Produced Programs on HGTV & DIY This Week

The NAHB Production Group produces four weekly television shows on HGTV and DIY for consumers. The following is this week's lineup:

"I Want That" on HGTV

Episode: "Concrete Tables and Tiny Electronics"

•  April 23, 9:00 p.m. ET/PT
•  April 24, 1:00 a.m. ET/PT

 

See fashionable funky furniture — including colorful concrete tables that aren’t as heavy as they look. For gadget fans, a fold-up wireless keyboard makes text messaging easier. And the latest in home networks connects your cell phone, land line and digital cameras.

"Dream Builders" on HGTV

Episode: "Maryland Cottage, Atlanta Studio"  

•  April 23, 9:30 a.m. ET/PT

 

A couple recreates the classic New England beach style in their Chesapeake Bay cottage. An Atlanta artist gets a comfortable family home and a private studio with a steel-framed structure with two wings. Empty nesters downsize to a Maryland condominium after renovating the space with a contemporary makeover. Strathmore Hall in Rockville, Md., which once belonged to the man who invented sliced bread, now is a center for the performing arts. The makers of polyethylene grass, a new type of artificial turf, say it closely resembles the real thing.

"Rock Solid" on DIY

Episode: "Kitchen Concrete Floor"

• April 20, 10:00 p.m. ET/PT
• April 21, 1:00 a.m. ET/PT
• April 22, Noon ET/PT
• April 23, 7:00 p.m. ET/PT

 

The stone guys, Dean and Derek, along with experts Jason Thoelke and Brandon Hobbes, of Creative Concrete Solutions, install an acid-etched concrete floor in a kitchen. In the process, they learn the road to concrete can be messy and multi-layered, especially if the demolition of the existing floor is difficult. Through the process, they demonstrate how to properly prepare a sub floor for a concrete overlay, how to mix the ingredients for each level of finish, how to find the right tools to achieve the desired texture and how to stain the floor safely and with even color.

"Assembly Required" on DIY

Episode: "Log Home"

• April 19, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT
• April 20, 1:30 a.m. ET/PT
• April 23, 2:00 p.m. ET/PT

 

Old-world craftsmanship meets today's technology as the log home goes prefab. Meet a family who gets more hands-on experience than they were hoping for as they set out to build their log home...and see how one family saw prefab as an affordable way to build their lakeside retreat. Tour a log home factory to see how computerized machines cut every log to fit and watch and learn as a kit comes together on a build site.

The NAHB Production Group is a full-service, self-contained, media production unit creating programming for cable television, broadcast television, non-profit, museum and corporate clients. Productions range from magazine format shows for general audiences to museum-installation videos for specialized use.

The production group includes award winning journalists, writers and photographers with experience in broadcast, documentary and corporate television.



Log In and Explore www.nahb.org


Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB. 

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

C.P. Berry Construction Is True to Its School...Library

C.P. Berry Construction donated more than $20,000 and 100 volunteer hours to create a state-of-the-art multi-media center for Newbury Elementary School in Massachusetts.

C.P. Berry Construction, a regional builder based in Topsfield, Mass., was recognized by the National Housing Endowment, the philanthropic arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), for its charitable work in Newbury, Mass., the home of its most recent development, Caldwell Farm.

Shortly after groundbreaking on the new development, C.P. Berry Construction was contacted by the Newbury Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association to discuss ways the builder and school could work together. The PTA provides student development programs and financial support, in addition to organizing numerous events at the school. With severe budget cuts facing Newbury’s public schools, C.P Berry was called upon to fill the gap.

The company responded by donating $20,000 and more than 100 volunteer man hours to the school. The builder is designing, building and outfitting a state-of-the-art multi-media center to be used by Newbury Elementary’s 650 students and faculty.

For this effort, C.P. Berry was awarded the 2005 Honorable Mention National Housing Endowment Builder Achievement Award for Outstanding Community Service during the 2006 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla. As winner of the award, the company received a $1,000 donation to be directed to the charity of its choice —  the Newbury Elementary PTA.

“C.P. Berry has been supporting civic causes in the communities in which we build for some 20 years,” said Mark O’Hara, the company’s director of sales. “What greater contribution is there to society than ensuring the education of our future generations? The Newbury PTA makes this happen, and we are honored just to be part of this phenomenal partnership.”

Since its founding in 1983, C.P. Berry’s principals, Carl and Alan Berry, have donated hundred of thousands of dollars to various civic causes and charities.

“C.P. Berry Construction is a true neighbor in their communities,” said Gary Garczynski, chairman of the National Housing Endowment and 2002 NAHB president. “Partnerships such as the one they formed with the Newbury Elementary PTA are a great example of two major players in the local area creating solutions and affecting change.”

Seven other builders were honored with Builder Achievement awards during the presentation at the builders' show.

The awards were established through a grant to the endowment by Isaac Heimbinder, vice chairman, president and COO of Kimball Hill Homes, based in Houston. 

For the complete list of winners, click here.

Hastak to Study Residential Wastewater Treatment

 

 

Dr. Mark Hastack

Mark Hastak of Purdue University will join the NAHB Research Center as a scholar-in-residence this summer to evaluate and compare centralized and decentralized approaches for residential wastewater treatment. His research will help create a decision-making tool for communities addressing residential land development and wastewater treatment issues.

Hastak’s project will help determine:

  • The critical quantitative and qualitative factors affecting the overall lifecycle performance of wastewater treatment systems

  • How the critical factors identified relate to the overall lifecycle performance of the wastewater treatment system

  • How an optimal decision strategy for wastewater treatment can be developed, given a specific land development project with identified factors


The research center’s Scholar in Residence Program is part of the center’s National Center for Residential Land Development Technology, which develops and coordinates a long-term research agenda to support advances in land development technologies. The program is funded by the National Housing Endowment, the philanthropic arm of NAHB.

Hastak is an associate professor in the School of Civil Engineering and a research director at the Purdue Housing Research Center.

His research interests include decision support systems and construction process improvement, risk assessment and strategic planning infrastructure management, international construction project cost control, construction operations analysis and simulation life cycle assessment of composite materials in construction.

The Scholars in Residence program was created to strengthen the ties between academic research and the practical day-to-day operations of the residential construction industry.

Get Double Discounts on Dell Computer Products in April

During April, Dell is offering double discounts to NAHB members on an array of products designed to meet the technology needs of your company.

That means the normal discounts of 3%-5% will double to 6%-10% on essential small business technology, including business-class desktops and cutting-edge notebooks.

Dell not only has the technology to make your home building business run more efficiently — it also offers NAHB members a more efficient way of doing business. 

Dell’s “Double Member Discount” offer is valid through April 30.

To Get Your Discount

Visit www.nahb.org/MA and click through Dell for complete details.

To maximize your Dell Member Advantage Discount:

After you have made your selections and are ready to purchase, call your dedicated Dell sales representative at 888-577-3355, Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (CST) and Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (CST).  Your sales representative will apply your NAHB member discount to your order.

Other Member Advantage Discounts

For the most up-to-date details on the Member Advantage discount program and all of the participating companies, go to www.nahb.org/ma.



Log In and Explore www.nahb.org


Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB. 

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

Whirlpool to Award Chillerator to Top NAHB Recruiter in May

Whirlpool will be awarding a Chillerator to the top membership recruiter in May as part of National Membership Day, May 23.

Whirlpool Corporation, the exclusive sponsor of NAHB membership, will be awarding a Gladiator™ Garageworks Chillerator as a prize for the top recruiter in May.

The Chillerator, valued at $999, will be featured during the 2006 National Membership Day Webcast on Tuesday, May 23.

“Through Whirlpool Corporation’s partnership, we’re proud to support NAHB, its members and the continued success of the building industry,” said Tom Halford, Whirlpool general manager of Contract Sales and Marketing.

In addition to National Membership Day activities, Whirlpool will be supporting and participating in the 2006 Membership Conference in San Antonio on Oct. 20-22;  Spike Appreciation Month in November; the 2007 International Builders’ Show in Orlando on Feb. 7-10; and continuing involvement with affiliated local and state builders associations.

For information about Whirlpool Corporation’s offerings to builders, call 800-253-3977, or visit www.insideadvantage.com.

For more information about NAHB’s membership and associate member programs, call 800-368-5242 x8440, or visit www.nahb.org/membershiptools.

GM $500 Exclusive Offer for NAHB Members

During 2006, qualifying NAHB members are eligible for a $500 offer on most GM vehicles.

Throughout 2006, qualifying NAHB members are eligible for a $500 exclusive offer on most GM passenger cars, light-duty trucks, vans and SUVs.

  • All eight GM nameplates are included in the offer — Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Saturn, Saab and HUMMER.

  • Vehicles excluded from this offer are Cadillac XLR and XLR-V, Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and SSR, HUMMER H1 Alpha, and Pontiac Solstice. Medium duty trucks are also excluded.

  • The $500 exclusive offer can be combined with most retail national and regional incentives in effect at the time of delivery.

For complete details, visit www.gmfleet.com/nahb

The program runs through Jan. 3. 2007.

GM NAHB Affinity Cards and details on this offer were mailed directly to NAHB members from GM, and members should use the affinity card when purchasing a qualifying vehicle.

Members who have misplaced or otherwise do not have a GM NAHB Affinity Card may print out their own replacement cards in order to show member verification to a GM dealer. Note: Members must be logged in to www.nahb.org in order to print their replacement card.

Members with a www.nahb.org login should go to www.nahb.org/MA and click on the “GM Exclusive Offer.” This will take members to a Web page with program details and instructions for printing a replacement card. 

There are also instructions for members who do not have a login (they will be sent to www.nahb.com/loginGM and returned to the page to get a replacement card).

For more information, e-mail Tiffany Smith at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8273.

Other Member Advantage Discounts

For the most up-to-date details on the Member Advantage discount program and all of the participating companies, go to www.nahb.org/MA.


Log In and Explore www.nahb.org

Explore the latest housing industry news and information on www.nahb.org — the official public and members-only Web site of NAHB. 

With an expansive "For Consumers" section, www.nahb.org provides a credible source of information on home building and remodeling for your customers. The Web site also provides a wealth of member discount programs and business resources developed for you.

Plus, to make it easy to get what you need, the Web site has built in time-saving features like My NAHB to customize the site to your interests, My Favorites so you can select specific links to appear on your www.nahb.org Home page and online Staff Directories so you can find NAHB housing industry experts quickly and easily.

Use www.nahb.org to stay on top of the latest housing industry news, access your council and committee materials, register for courses and events and stay abreast of NAHB’s efforts to promote housing.

Log in today to start taking advantage of this free NAHB member benefit.

Find Employees Through New NAHB Online Career Center

  

NAHB is hosting an online building industry-oriented career center that provides members with a cost-effective recruiting solution that makes locating qualified candidates and advertising open positions faster and easier.

NAHB members using the NAHB Career Center will receive a 20% discount off of standard rates for job postings. For a complete listing of all rates, click here

The career center can be found on:

  • NAHB's Web site by visiting www.nahb.org/careers
  • Nation’s Building News "NAHB Career Center" section. The career center is  a regular feature of Nation's Building News. 

The career center was created in collaboration with ConstructionJobs.com, a leading employment resource for the construction, design and building industries.{{MORE}}

Career center features that give members a competitive edge include :

  • More than 28,000 construction and engineering candidates
  • More than 2,500 new resumes posted monthly
  • More than 150,000 visitors to the center per month
  • Dedicated customer service

Nation’s Building News readers can visit the site by using the NAHB Career Center tab at the bottom of the issue’s headlines, or by going to the NAHB Web site or www.nahb.org/careers.

NAHB Spring Board Meeting May 9-13

The following schedule of events is a partial listing provided as a notice for the upcoming NAHB Board of Directors Meeting and Legislative Conference at the spring board meeting in Washington, D.C. on May 9-13, 2006.

Meetings will be held at the National Housing Center and the Hilton Washington Hotel. The spring board program will identify the exact time and place of each scheduled meeting.
 
Tuesday, May 9
Joint National Vice Presidents/State Representatives Meeting
National Vice Presidents Meeting
State Representatives Meeting
Executive Board Meeting
 
Wednesday, May 10
Legislative Conference Issues Briefing and Hill Visits
 
Thursday, May 11
Committees, Subcommittees, Councils, Affiliates, etc.
2006 Presidential Coordinator Team Meeting
NAHB Past Presidents’ Council Meeting
NHC Board of Governors Meeting
Nominations Committee
 
Friday, May 12
Committees, Subcommittees, Councils, Affiliates, etc.
 
Saturday, May 13
Area Caucuses 1-15
Joint Executive, Budget and Resolutions Committees Meeting
Board of Directors
Hall of Fame Induction

Calendar of Events

April 24-26

Building for Boomers and Beyond: 50+ Housing Symposium 2006

Phoenix, Ariz.

April 27 

Construction Forecast Conference — Spring 2006

Washington, D.C.

May 10   

NAHB Legislative Conference

Washington, D.C.

May 10   

Remodelors™ Night Out

Washington, D.C.

May 10-14

Spring Board of Directors Meeting

Washington, D.C.

May 11

50+ Council Spring Board Networking Dinner

Washington, D.C.

May 11

NSMC/IRM Spring Board Networking Dinner

Washington, D.C.

May 13

NSMC Spring Housing Tour

Washington, D.C.

May 21-22

Building Systems Councils Modular and Panel Plant Tour

Appleton and Wausau, Wis.

May 23

National Membership Day

Nationwide

June 5-7

2006 NAHB/BALA Design Institute for Builders

Charlotte, N.C.

June 11-13

Building Systems Councils Concrete Tour & Conference

Phoenix, Ariz.

Aug. 1-6

2006 EOC Seminar

Uncasville, Conn.

Aug. 3

2005 EOC Association Excellence Awards

Uncasville, Conn.

Sept. 13-17

Fall Board of Directors Meeting

Salt Lake City, Utah

Oct. 18

Remodeling Show 2006

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 18   

CGR Reception

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20

Remodelor™ of the Year Award

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20

Remodelors™ Council CADRE Award

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20   

Remodelors™ Council Gala

Chicago, Ill.

Oct. 20-22

National Conference on Membership

San Antonio, Texas

Oct. 27-29

2006 Custom Builder Symposium

Las Vegas, Nev.

Nov. 5-8

2006 Building Systems Councils SHOWCASE

Miami, Fla.

2007

 

 

Jan. 11

Innovation in Workforce Housing Awards

TBA

Feb. 6

Best in American Living Award

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 7-10

2007 International Builders' Show

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 8

National Housing Endowment Builder Achievement Award
for Outstanding Community Service

Orlando, Fla.

Feb. 9

Remodelors™ Council Chairman's Dinner

Orlando, Fla.

March 25

National Green Building Conference

St. Louis, Mo.

To view more meetings and events information on the NAHB Web site, click here.



Log In and Discover www.nahb.org

The NAHB Web site, www.nahb.org, gives you access to nearly 5,000 pages of housing industry information and exclusive members-only resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Access is fast, easy and free to NAHB members.

To take full advantage of the exclusive NAHB members-only resources on www.nahb.org, however, you must log in.

To create your login: 

  1. Go to www.nahb.org/login. 
  2. Fill in the required fields.
  3. Click ‘Submit.’


Access to Information That Works for You

By logging onto the NAHB Web site, you will have access to twice as much information as non-members — information that will help you stay ahead of your competition.

You will be able to view and read entire sections of content developed just for members, and you will be able to personalize the site to your specific interests.

To learn more, log in and visit the "How to Use" www.nahb.org section in My NAHB.

For questions or help logging in, call 800-368-5242 x0; or e-mail your name, company name, state and phone number to login@nahb.org.